Birmingham-based youth employment and skills charity, Sport 4 Life UK, has received a £30,000 donation from Wesleyan Foundation that will enable it to continue its life-changing work with young people across the West Midlands.
The donation will help the charity engage with a further 400 disadvantaged young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) over the coming year.
In Birmingham, an estimated 15,100 young people are unemployed and the city has one of the highest youth employment rates in the UK, at 8.9%.
Sport 4 Life UK aims to tackle youth unemployment by providing a range of sports-themed personal development and mentoring services to boost young people’s employability and gain accredited qualifications, helping them move into sustained education, employment or training.
In 2020-21, Sport 4 Life UK supported 1,015 young people across Birmingham and the West Midlands, with 354 of these going on to start a qualification and 114 progressing into education, employment or training.
More than nine in ten (95%) of those that worked with the charity significantly improved their employability skills and 75% reported a significant improvement in their key life skills.
Tom Clarke-Forrest, Founder & CEO at Sport 4 Life UK, said: “After a really successful year, in which we supported hundreds of youngsters across the West Midlands, we’re keen to continue this positive momentum in 2022 and continue to use sport to change people’s lives.
“This is a critical time for supporting our young people – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The pandemic has exacerbated existing disparities, and significantly affected their employment prospects. This donation from the Wesleyan Foundation has been a massive boost for us as an organisation and will help us to pursue our goals of helping hundreds more people unlock their full potential over the coming months.”
Nathan Wallis, Chief of Staff at Wesleyan, said: “As a mutual, our Foundation is committed to supporting grassroots, volunteer and community-led projects and organisations that make a real difference across the UK. Sport 4 Life is a great example of this. We know that Birmingham has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the UK and Sport 4 Life UK is leading the way in helping tackle this critical issue.
“We’re proud to support the organisation after its incredible performance last year, and we hope our donation will enable it to continue making a positive impact on the lives of young people across the West Midlands.”
In 2017 Wesleyan launched Wesleyan Foundation as part of its commitment to supporting great causes that are important to its members and the communities in which they live and work.
The Foundation has since donated more than £4.3m to good causes across the UK, reaching more than 100,000 people through initiatives that promote health, education and social development.